A leading German literature professor says that reading
Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings could help prevent war.
Thomas Kullmann, a 42-year-old professor from the
University of Osnabrueck, said: "If adults read children’s literature more
often then we would probably live in a much more peaceful world.
Exactly what fairy tales has this guy been reading. In
most that I can recall the witch/wizard/dragon/etc. gets killed by the hero.
If you ever read the old fairy tales and not the disneyfied version they are
pretty violent. If the modern peaceniks were in these stories we would have
- Hey, Hey , Ho, Ho Prince Charming has got to go.
- Prince Charming is only trying to make his oil buddy rich.
- Don’t attack Hook, Never Neverland will become another Vietnam
- Little Red Riding is a hood, the wolf is not big and bad but misunderstood.
- Boycott glass slippers made in sweat shops
- Stop the exploitation of little people by Snow White
"Fairy tales and other works for children may
not be one-to-one with reality but they help excite the imagination. They give
the reader new ideas that could even help solve political problems.
"Children’s books can definitely help adults
rethink a situation and help them assess political situations on a higher and
even wiser level."
He added: "Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings is a good
example of a children’s book that could help.
LOTR is not a children’s book, it is a book that can
be read by children.
"It shows, in a spectacular way, how destroying
an object can prevent world domination from one person or side."
I must be totally dense today since I don’t understand
this line at all. I seem to recall that there was a war in LOTR and that Frodo
and others had to kill people/creatures in order to get to the point where the
ring could be destroyed. They didn’t send diplomats to Saruman or impose
sanctions. I think the opposite lesson could be learned from LOTR, that there
is good and evil and that evil must be defeated. Now how the evil in Iraq is
to be defeated is open to question, but it will not be by everyone reading LOTR,
unless of course they are all really slow readers and by the time they finish
the trilogy Saddam Hussien has died of old age. With the state of public education
maybe that scenario is not totally far fetched.
Bettinelli offers a post on "Peace in Middle Earth in our time"